“A STRONG CHECK AGAINST FOREIGN INTRIGUE”
If you think about what confers thoughts, ideas and allegiance, what shapes a person’s being and loyalties, then what should be driving the presidential eligibility debate becomes crystal clear.
In the beginning of life an infant or young child cares nothing about the place where he was born and raised. All of his formative influence is from family (parentage). As he grows, the child soon begins to interact with his peers and gains an awareness of the surroundings in which he lives. Over time, he naturally begins to form an attachment to his community, its customs and its history. This is the natural allegiance to place (the birth allegiance to which Madison referred). But the allegiance to the teachings and memories of one’s parents never leaves. It remains a strong influence throughout life. Even if one or both parents have been largely absent, there is a natural longing to learn of who they were, where they lived, what they thought in order to learn of one’s natural roots and characteristics (exhibit one: aka Obama’s Dreams from My [putative] Father.)
The founders wrote that the presidential eligibility clause was intended to provide a strong check against foreign intrigue. Mere place of birth does not provide this check as is immediately obvious from considering the case of an anchor baby born here to alien parents, then raised to adulthood in the land and culture of his parents only to return as an adult (for example, to attend college). By this weak eligibility check, such a “citizen” (who could never be considered a 100%, red-blooded, through-and-through American) could legally become president after meeting the residency and age requirements. Does anyone really believe that this is what the founders had in mind? Really?
To me it is obvious that a strong check against foreign intrigue can only be met by requiring that one have been born and raised one hundred percent American so that by one’s very nature, one’s innate being, no other possible allegiance exists. A strong check is only provided by requiring both blood AND dirt (with regard to the place where one is raised).
For the most part, I don’t think it matters where one was born, but only that one has been raised by America-loving Americans in the culture of America. Thus a foreign birth in and of itself, such as McCain’s or Ted Cruz’s, really has little influence on their allegiance (the only exception to this being if one is born in a country that claims jus soli birthright citizenship and that that birthright is officially recognized by the USA, such as is the case with Canada).
Since Ted Cruz moved to the USA when still a toddler, I do not think his Canadian birth influenced his developing allegiance one whit. I worry more about the influence of an alien father who could not trouble himself to become an American citizen until decades after he was first eligible. What kind of lesson to Ted was that? (Rafael Cruz was a Cuban when Ted was born, but became a Canadian before moving to the USA when Ted was four. Even though he was eligible for citizenship after five years, he didn’t bother becoming an American until an additional 26 years later in 2005.)
The prior discussion is not so much about what technically constitutes a natural born Citizen, but rather what is the actual source of natural allegiance in man. The founders, out of necessity born by practicality, chose a bright-line standard that was either clearly met or was not (born in country of citizen parents). It was perhaps not 100% congruent with exclusive allegiance, but it was close enough and unambiguously assessable. And by any reasonable standard, Ted Cruz is not a natural born Citizen.